Ronnie Brown: Starting Gig Makes Veteran RB a Sneaky Spot Start

Tim KeeneyContributor IAugust 30, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 24: Ronnie Brown #30 of the San Diego Chargers carries the ball during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings on August 24, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Ronnie Brown is a Week 1 fantasy starter.

Man, it's been a while since I've been able to say that. Even after typing those words, deleting them and then typing them again, I'm still having trouble believing myself.

Brown, after all, is 30 years old. He received just 42 carries for 136 yards—an anemic 3.2 yards per carry—in Philly last season. He hasn't surpassed 100 rushing yards in a game since Avatar was in theaters. And he makes plays like this:

Phew. I could unfortunately go on and on about the undesirability of Brown in terms of the fantasy football world, but for at least one glorious week in September, he's going to party like it's the first seven games of 2007. 

He just has too much working in his favor.

First, and most importantly, he's the starter. Incumbent Ryan Mathews is allergic to being healthy, and while the youngster is working hard to return from the fractured clavicle he suffered just four weeks ago, he won't be ready to play on September 9.

Enter Brown, who, according to U-T San Diego's Michael Gehlken in the link above, will receive somewhere around 20 carries in Mathews' stead. 

But that's only half the puzzle. If you extrapolate Brown's stinker of a season last year to 20 carries, you've still only got yourself a whopping 64 yards with the slight chance of a few targets; hardly numbers that earn him the stamp of "must start."

Here's the kicker: San Diego's Week 1 matchup takes them to Oakland to face the Raiders for Monday Night Football

That means Brown gets to go up against the same Raiders defense—not exactly the same, obviously, but the Raiders hardly did anything to significantly improve their front seven—that gave up 5.1 yards per carry, which was worst in the league, in 2011.

The same Raiders defense that let opponents run for 136.1 yards per game. The same Raiders defense that gave up a rushing touchdown per game. 

The Chargers like to throw the ball, and there's a chance they rely on Philip Rivers' beautiful delivery more than usual without Mathews. But the departure of Vincent Jackson and injury to Vincent Brown should force them to reel it in a bit while Rivers continues to get acquainted with his new toys. 

Starting Ronnie Brown in your fantasy league might make you throw up in your mouth a little bit, but at least for Week 1, he has the opportunity, he has the carries and he has the right opponent.

If nothing else, put him in your lineup for old time's sake. There are plenty of worse options out there.